Largest Margin of Victory on PGA Tour: The All-Time Record

The Most Strokes Between Winner and Runner-Up

Golfer Bobby Locke photographed in 1964.
Bobby Locke is the most recent golfer with a 16-stroke margin of victory on the PGA Tour.

Bobby Locke

 

Margin of victory records refer to the number of strokes by which the winner beats the runner-up. And that record on the PGA Tour is 16 strokes — four golfers in tour history have won by 16 shots.

The Four Margin-of-Victory Record-Holders

The largest margin of victory in any tournament played on the PGA Tour or now counted by the tour as an official win is 16 strokes. That record is shared by J. Douglas Edgar, Joe Kirkwood Sr., Sam Snead and Bobby Locke.

Edgar's 16-shot win happened first, at the 1919 Canadian Open. It was the first of three career PGA Tour wins for Edgar, Two years later, Edgar bled to death from a knife wound on the streets of Atlanta.

Joe Kirkwood Sr. won the 1924 Corpus Christi Open to tie the record, one of 13 tour wins for him.

Then there are the two Hall of Famers who share the record, Snead and Locke. (It was Snead who bestowed the nickname "Ol' Muffin Face" on Locke.) Snead's record-tying win was also his very first, and it happened at the 1936 West Virginia Closed Pro. Locke is the most-recent 16-stroke winner on the PGA Tour, and his huge win happened at the 1948 Chicago Victory National Championship.

The List of Widest Winning Margins in PGA Tour History

These are all the golfers in the history of the PGA Tour who've won by 12 strokes or more.

16 strokes

  • J. Douglas Edgar, 1919 Canadian Open
  • Joe Kirkwood Sr., 1924 Corpus Christi Open
  • Sam Snead, 1936 West Virginia Closed Pro
  • Bobby Locke, 1948 Chicago Victory National Championship

15 strokes

14 strokes

13 strokes

  • Old Tom Morris, 1862 British Open
  • Byron Nelson, 1945 Seattle Open
  • Gene Littler, 1955 Tournament of Champions
  • Phil Mickelson, 2006 BellSouth Classic

12 strokes

  • Byron Nelson, 1939 Phoenix Open
  • Arnold Palmer, 1962 Phoenix Open
  • Jose Maria Olazabal, 1990 NEC World Series of Golf
  • Tiger Woods, 1997 Masters

Note that two golfers make the list twice each: Nelson and Woods. Also, only two of these huge wins have come since 2000; all but four of them happened prior to 1990.

Largest Margin of Victory in a Major

Three major championship make the list above, and the record in major championships is Tiger Woods' 15-stroke win at the 2000 U.S. Open. That broke one of the oldest records in golf at the time, the 13-stroke winning margin by Old Tom Morris in the third Open Championship ever played, in 1862. Woods' 1997 Masters victory (by 12 shots) is the third major on the list.